There is no threat to the ongoing series between India and South Africa. There were rumours that the second and third one-dayers would be called off following the death of South Africa’s founder president Nelson Mandela, but Cricket South Africa has got the necessary clearance from the country’s sports ministry.
“The sports ministry has given us the go-ahead,” CSA independent director Norman Arendse informed. “The second ODI in Durban (December 8) as well as the third ODI in Centurion (December 11) will not be affected,” the 56-year-old former first-class cricketer added. There was ambiguity over the funeral date of the anti-apartheid icon, but South African president Jacob Zuma cleared the air on Friday afternoon by announcing that the 95-year-old would be laid to rest in Qunu (Eastern Cape) on December 15.
India will play a South African Invitational XI in Benoni (December 14-15) before heading back to the Wanderers here for the first Test (December 18-22). Durban will host the second Test from December 26-30.
Meanwhile, CSA paid tribute to Mandela, who played a crucial role in South Africa’s return to international cricket in the early 1990s, and dedicated the ongoing series to the great man. “As part of the greater South African family of former president Nelson Mandela, CSA expresses its sincere condolences to the family of Madiba, to the nation and the world,” said CSA president Chris Nenzani.
“CSA has learned with great sadness of the passing of this icon of our times. Mandela played a pivotal role in the liberation of the people of our country from the injustices of the apartheid system.
A democratic South Africa owes its success to Mandela and that great generation of leaders who were his peers.
“The sporting world will remember him for his tireless efforts at uniting the various sporting codes in order to create a proud and united South African sporting front… Nothing assuredly gave him greater pleasure than being part of the team that brought the FIFA World Cup to South Africa in 2010 and seeing what a wonderful celebration of sport, comradeship and humanity the tournament was. CSA dedicates the current series against the Indian team to the memory of Mandela.”
The Indian team flew to Durban on Friday morning and will train at the Sahara Stadium in Kingsmead on Saturday afternoon. Down 0-1 in the three-match series, they will run into a fired-up Protea side on Sunday.